Article of the Week: “Anisotropic Filtering? Anti-Aliasing? Tessellation?” or “Here is What Those Terms Mean!”
If you have ever struggled with terms like anisotropic filtering, anti-aliasing or shader models while tweaking the graphical settings mid-game, this post is a great beginner’s guide to what these terms mean. In short:
All modern games use mip-mapping, which renders textures farther away at lower resolutions to help frame-rates, anisotropic filtering helps reduce the blatancy of the visible between the hi-res texture close to you, and the lo-res texture further away.
Ever notice how slanted lines in graphics can seem jagged and pixelated. A higher multiplier in anti-aliasing helps reduce this jagged edge and renders a smoother line.
High Dynamic Range Lighting
HDR lighting increases the level of brightness rendered, so the game world presents it’s varying contrasts a bit better, as would occur naturally to the naked eye.
Shader model the shading language used to program shaders. It is constantly evolving and older cards may not support all the features of the shader model being used by the latest game.
Think of this as anisotropic filtering, but for polygons. Polygons closer to the player are rendered with high details (the count normally remains the same), whereas polygons much farther are rendered at a much lower detail-level.